Katie and Emma Harwell
Through our involvement with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Young Ambassadors program, we are privileged to support doctors and researchers who makes strides each day in the fight against cancer. We wholeheartedly believe that with our help the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center will make a difference.
We consider ourselves lucky to have made it almost into our twenties without being seriously affected by cancer. Some of my friends’ parents or siblings had been diagnosed with various types and stages, and while I knew it was serious (and often fatal), they were lucky – eventually, they were all in remission.
Shortly before Emma’s twentieth birthday, cancer caught up with us. Days after Emma returned home from her sophomore year of college, our mom was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, which had already spread to her lungs. The type of cancer she had was small cell – particularly aggressive. My family and our friends prepared for a fight.
My mom was lucky to have Dr. Jordan Berlin as her primary oncologist. He was both reassuring and realistic. She bragged to anyone and everyone about what good hands she knew she was in. We spent hours at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center for chemotherapy and radiation. Everyone at the Cancer Center strived to make the process easier for us, and we immediately respected and admired all of them, especially the nurses.
After two years of fighting, cancer won. My mom passed away just after Emma graduated from college. Of course, it was too soon for us and for her, but I will be eternally grateful to everyone at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center for giving my mom another two years. It is for this reason that we joined the Young Ambassadors. We believe that the doctors and researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center can make a difference in both the treatment and prevention of cancer now and in the future.